Forest & Bird is applauding the passage of the Zero Carbon Bill though Parliament today, 119 votes to 1.
The landmark legislation will put Aotearoa on the path towards carbon neutrality by setting a target for net-zero emissions by 2050 and creating the framework to achieve it.
“We’re very pleased to see the Zero Carbon Bill pass into law,” says Forest & Bird Chief Executive Kevin Hague.
“Now we need to see a path to carbon neutrality that has protecting and restoring nature at its heart.”
While the new law creates a framework for New Zealand’s response to climate change, including an Independent Climate Change Commission, it does not reduce carbon emissions.
“The Bill is only a first step on climate change. Now we need concrete, urgent, climate action to save our most vulnerable native species and restore native ecosystems,” says Mr Hague.
“Climate change is a real threat to nature in Aotearoa. Increased fires, storms, and sea level rise could push our many endangered species over the edge.”
“But our native forests and wetlands also have enormous potential to absorb carbon and protect us from the worst effects of extreme weather. The more we restore wild places and make them resilient to changing climate, the more benefit we’ll see.”
“We need to ensure our actions to reduce emissions don’t harm nature, for example by spreading wilding pines or building dams that destroy native habitat. That would be a continuation of the short-term thinking causing run-away climate change.”
Forest & Bird are pleased to see cross-party support for the bill in Parliament.
“What everyone really needs is long term certainty about New Zealand’s approach to reducing carbon emissions. That allows our businesses to plan for the future, and gives our young people hope for the future,” says Mr Hague.